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What’s wrong with the two party system?

I wrote recently about the mainstream media narrative of ‘yes the Liberal government has problems, but they’re no worse than the previous Labor government’- showing that these journos can’t possibly criticise Abbott without throwing in the tired old ‘but Labor was just as bad’ comment, to keep their Labor bashing credentials alive. Now we have a new play on this theme, which isn’t really a new play for this blogger as he’s been writing on this topic for some time. Tim Dunlop has contributed this week yet another edition of his narrative that the problem is the two party system – and that the Abbott government is the two party system’s symptom, not a problem in itself. Here are three recent Drum articles by Dunlop on similar themes: this one is about the problems with a two party system being unrepresentative of community attitudes, this one is a suggestion that our elected representatives could be chosen by lottery, and this one is about the community’s preference for independents and minor parties which is a symptom of a ‘a deeper democratic malaise’.

I’m going to go out on a limb here amongst left wing bloggers and will say to Dunlop, and those that agree with him, what are you talking about? What if Dunlop and people who share his views are so obsessed with their idea that our democratic system is ‘broken’ that they’re purposely looking the other way, rather than seeing all the good that has come out of our democratic system in the past, and how much good could still be done?

When Gough Whitlam died this year, there was an outpouring of grief combined with a celebration for what this leader had achieved in the very short time he led a Labor government. Correct me if I’m wrong, but this success happened in a two party system. And what about Prime Minister Julia Gillard who led a minority government successfully, in a two party system, so successfully that she was the most productive Prime Minister this country has ever seen. So this broken system that Dunlop is writing about, this system that no longer represents the wider community’s values, how was it able to produce a minority government of such amazing, but admittedly unsung and largely unappreciated, success?

I’m currently researching political narratives and framing, and I’ve learned that once a frame is secure in someone’s mind – once it’s a ‘thing’, people find it very hard to see a situation through this frame in the same way that someone else with a different frame sees it. So I would argue that Dunlop and I both think we’re equally right and perhaps we are. But let me at least argue my case as to why Dunlop’s frame clashes with mine.

Dunlop’s frame is that the previous Labor government, and clearly the current Liberal government are not interested in representing the wider community and are only interested in ‘the echo chamber of the concerns of the broader political class’. Dunlop therefore, having made this decision, lets this perception of Labor and Liberal politicians run through every judgement he makes about politics. Major parties are apparently out of touch. Minors and independents the only true representative leaders. Apparently minor billionaire Clive Palmer and his PUP Senators, Motoring Enthusiasts, Family First’s Bob Day and the now independent Jacqui Lambie amongst them.

My frame, however, is that politics is about good policies and, equally as important, implementing good policies. My values align with Labor’s values and a Labor government is therefore the best chance I have of seeing policies implemented that align with my values. I don’t just want good ideas from politicians, I want the opportunity to see these ideas become reality and therefore I will fight for Labor’s opportunity to do this. This doesn’t mean I agree with everything the Labor government does. But broadly, I do see their values aligning with mainstream Australia – at their very heart they aim for sustainable economic growth, healthcare, education, employment and opportunity for all Australians no matter what background. I see these values at the heart of Labor’s policies and for the most part, I am happy to passionately fight to see Labor achieve policy success with these values that I know align to mine. So I clearly come at this from a different view point from Dunlop. Where I see Labor government success, he sees a problem akin to Tony Abbott.

Dunlop mentions that he sees the two party system as being only interested in ‘allegiance to the economic system of market liberalism’. Yet he doesn’t mention what system he would prefer they had allegiance to. Perhaps this is where Dunlop’s disappointment comes from (and I would argue that this is not a mainstream malaise). The Liberal Party is the party of economic rationalists. The Labor Party promises to civilise capitalism – to try to reduce the inequitable power between labour and capital. But Labor has never promised to get rid of ‘market liberalism’ altogether and perhaps anyone who expects that they should is bound to be disappointed that they won’t. Again, I wonder what Dunlop would prefer from a government? A denial of globalised capitalism and a protectionist communist democracy instead? Or maybe he wants a coalition government of random small and individual factions, who have to fight out every policy to get a backroom deal done for themselves, at the expense of the wider community, and at the expense of long term planning and vision for the country? Maybe he wants a system of self-interested pork-barrelling, as outlined by Kay Rollison here. That’s the thing about Dunlop’s anti-the-system commentary; he’s very good at saying what’s wrong with the way things are now, but never quite gets to a point where he has a sensible suggestion of what could work better. And no, I don’t count a ‘lottery’ as a sensible suggestion.

And speaking of a lottery, then we have Dunlop’s preference for minor parties and independents, who apparently are another symptom of the problem with the two party system (although this is where I’m confused as to whether Dunlop sees them as a symptom or part of a solution). I’m sorry to say this about a blogger I respect, but again Dunlop, what are you talking about? The most uninformed voters I know choose the most random of independents and minor parties because it’s trendy. Because it’s hip to be ‘against the established parties’, to be an ‘anti-politician’. Not because it’s smart. Not because it’s going to be ultimately productive for their values into policies agenda. Not because they actually have any idea what on earth these independents and minors stand for. How many Family First voters realised Bob Day is on a mission to destroy the minimum wage? Seriously – poll them and see how few took any notice of Day’s very well-known values. Or what about another South Australian Senator, Nick Xenophon, who has just announced that he is starting a political party. A party based on what values? Xenophon got elected to the Senate in 2008 on the values of getting his face on TV through stunts and promising to axe pokies. I have no idea what happened to his passion for pokies policies because it’s not been mentioned in a long time. But I wonder how many people who mindlessly voted for him were aware of the lottery of votes their elected representative would contribute to in order to help the Liberals get their Direct Action joke-of-a-policy through the Senate, and more recently to reinstate Temporary Protection Visas. But that’s the thing about independents and minor parties – they escape any sort of criticism from people like Dunlop. Apparently they win the day they get elected, and after that they have a blank slate to do and say whatever they like – and no one who votes for them, or publically supports them, ever calls them out. What about when the Greens blocked Rudd’s ETS. Sorry, I haven’t forgotten because this is one policy I am extremely passionate about and I hate the idea of minor parties playing politics with it for their own electoral purposes, when the fate of our future is at stake. But no, there’s no criticism from anyone who voted for the people outside of major parties. No, it’s the major parties that are the problem apparently. The hardworking, values driven Labor MPs are heaped in with the conniving Liberals as if they’re all from the same stock. They’re just as bad as each other.

If Dunlop was clearer about what is was actually advocating in place of the two party system, I might be able to more clearly define why I disagree with him. But ultimately, it’s his prerogative to keep writing on this topic if that’s what he wants to do. And I’ll keep pointing out that I disagree with him. I believe Tony Abbott is the problem with Tony Abbott and I’m not interested in people trying to make excuses for this problem by blaming the two party political system. And I’ll be fighting, in our two party system, to get rid of him in 2016. Whether the minors and the independents are interested in supporting this campaign is also clearly, a lottery.


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  1. Ricardo29

    Well said Victoria. I am also hearing people saying we need first-past-the-post voting which would eliminate, they say, the ragtag group of minor party reps. It would, but as the UK experience has shown, it doesn’t necessarily eliminate minor parties. Personally I can’t see an alternative that would improve the current situation, except better education on electoral matters so people understand HOW people like Day, Muir Leyjonhelm etc actually get elected.my initial antipathy to Lambie’s has been tempered somewhat by her stance on Higher Ed. As for Labor, I agree with all you say while recognising that despite her guts and determination, Julia Gillard had a disturbing tendency to shoot herself the foot. One can’t downplay the role of Rudd’s wicked leaks during the 2010 election but her own actions contributed to the fact of the minority government. That said, she will eventually be given the credit she deserves. As for the present crop of scumbags, I fear for the damage they can do, or attempt to do in the rest of their time in office. And finally, while I agree with you on the greens and ETS, I think their position on asylum seekers is the most principled of all the parties. Labor must look at a more humane solution.

  2. roiscoe

    I would rather have someone in parliament looking after my needs, not the ‘parties’ needs and while we have the two party system, that will never happen

  3. corvus boreus

    Regarding the aberrations that occur in the upper house (poo-flinging hoons, disobedient puppies etc) I would like to see a limited preference option, a middle road between one(1) and all(1-639).
    I could make a reasonably informed decision based upon known qualities of senatorial candidates out to about the twenty mark, but beyond that, you are getting into the realm of choices between Lib-Dems, Dem-Libs, pirates and free grog.
    This usually means taking the easy option, a simple 1 to the party of choice, who make blind and cynical preference deals with the rest of the menagerie.
    The simple amendment of a choice to allot my choice of candidates to a reasonable minimum number(10?), without having to get down to choosing between Wiki-leaks and Sex, would certainly help this voter make clear his informed intentions.

  4. Hotspringer

    Sorry Victoria, I think you are wrong and Tim Dunlop is right.
    Two party system needs two very different parties, centre left and centre right. What I see today is centre right and extreme right.
    I worshipped Whitlam and liked Gillard, though I didn’t support all their policies. Until Labor moves back to centre left, where it was in Whitlam years, they will get my preferences as a “not quite as bad as the other lot”, but not my first vote.

  5. mars08

    I will never vote for the lesser of two evils…

  6. Lee

    I have to disagree with your observation about Xenophon. There’s plenty of people on social media who are extremely unhappy with his support of the LNP’s policy to reinstate TPVs and are vowing never to vote for him again.

    My observation of folks who vote for the independents are not because they are trendy. Rather, they vote for them because the independent has revealed their position on issues that are important to the voter and they want the numbers in the Senate to pass that legislation. Or in the case of the lower house, the independent may someone highly respected in the community, who has already shown their hand and has broken away from a major party. Then there are plenty of voters who are very unhappy with both major parties and feel that an independent couldn’t be any worse.

    If social issues are important to the voter, then the attitude of both major parties towards asylum seekers is of concern. There’s a good piece of advice when entering a new relationship. Take notice of how your prospective partner treats shop assistants, waiting staff and similar. If they don’t show any respect to these people then you’re probably better off without them. Likewise,if the major parties treat asylum seekers so badly, should we believe that they will treat other people in unfortunate circumstances much better? The ALP claims to support the little guy but what have they done to create a job guarantee? Labor governments have sold off public assets and transferred work from the public to the private sector, perhaps not on such a large scale as the Liberal government, but they have clearly drunk from the same bottle of kool-aid. They’re trying to get the federal budget back to a surplus, just not as quickly as the Liberals. Bob Hawke reintroduced fees for tertiary education. I don’t think Malcolm Fraser’s political views today are any further to the left than when he was Prime Minister, but clearly he is to the left of today’s ALP.

    Sir Thomas Playford was one of the best Premiers South Australia has ever seen. His long term visions developed a lot of infrastructure in the state and he was doing such a good job that the leader of the Labor Party worked with him and assisted him to get things done. These were politicians who, like Gough Whitlam, were there for the benefit of the entire electorate first and foremost and who looked beyond their term of government. My generation has not seen another good Liberal politician of the calibre of Tom Playford. Now it is common to see incoming governments dismantle the achievements of the previous government just because they can. I’ve worked in the public service since 1984 and I’m really over the 180 degree turns we’re put through every few years. It’s a ridiculous waste of money and it is widening the gap between the wealthy and the poor. We’ve got this daft system because there aren’t enough of us demanding any better from our politicians.

  7. CMMC

    Well, for starters, its a three party system when you consider the National Party.

    Then there is the factor of continuous misinformation generated by the ‘News’ media.

    If you tried to run the Annual General Meeting of a company like this you would be shut down by ASIC.

    But, then again, people like Murdoch have found a way to run their corporations without the bother of an A.G.M. and all that annoying ‘shareholders rights’ stuff.

  8. corvus boreus

    Weighted internal factional mis-representation within their ranks and collusion in general political corruption are my two main current issues with the federal Labor Party.

    Mr Shorten remains a Catholic old bhoy of the right faction, a political player of uncertain loyalty with a dubious past and affiliations(HSU, Roskam)and an apologist and defender of current federal corruptions(no ICAC for Bill).
    I do not mind that Mr Shorten is grey, nor even that he is smeared, I object to the fact that he refuses to have the grub-marks cleaned off.

    I am another who has tended to drift in disillusionment away from giving a default primary vote to Labor, and I think to arrest the general progression of public feeling against the dominance of the two-party system, there has to be reform of the entire procedure of political operation, starting with a clean up of existing misconduct.

    In simplest terms, I will support a Labor party that supports a federal ICAC.

  9. Kaye Lee

    Ted Mack spoke at length about the problems of a two party system in the 2013 Henry Parkes Oration.

    Political parties as they have developed over the last century seem like two mafia families seeking control of the public purse for distribution to themselves, supporters, the special interests who fund them and for buying votes at the next election.

    By centralising power as Tony Fitzgerald puts it: The public interest is subordinated to the pursuit of power, party objectives and personal ambitions, sometimes including the corrupt acquisition of financial benefit. Branch stacking has become endemic and as Fitzgerald says “The parties gift electorates to family connections, malleable party hacks and mediocre apparatchiks”.

    The dominance of the major parties by little known and unimpressive faction leaders who have effective control of Australia’s democracy and destiny might be tolerable if the major parties acted with integrity but they do not. Their constant battles for power are venal, vicious and vulgar.

    We have a system where the opposition almost always loses and has virtually no role in legislation. This forces members to extremes – to magnify differences – often reaching levels of mindless partisanship only seen at football matches.

    The two-party system stifles ideas, debate and decision-making within the parties. The faction system often ensures minority views triumph within both party rooms. Voting within parties is often based on what faction members belong to, who wants to become or stay a minister or who wants to be party leader. What the electors think is at best a secondary consideration. Party members almost always follow the party line and are often voting against what they really believe or what their electorates would want.

    The single-member electorate system results in only accidental relationship between seats won and the total actual votes. For example, the 2012 election in Queensland produced the bizarre result that the state government won 88 per cent of seats with 49.7 per cent of the vote. The other 50.3 per cent of voters were rewarded with 12 per cent of the seats.

    This system also largely eliminates minorities unless their vote is concentrated in particular electorates. That is why such parties as the Australian Democrats and Greens get almost no lower house seats with often twice the vote of the National Party, while the latter generally receives around ten members and three or four ministers and Deputy Prime Minister.

    As things stand politics in Australia is now the province of a political class that now offers a lifetime career path in federal and state parliaments, the public services and quangos. Entrance to this world often involves nepotism and cronyism. There can be few other legitimate jobs with salary packages over $300,000 that can often be obtained with virtually no experience and qualifications and little restrictions on second jobs or holidays. By paying politicians starting salary packages of over $300,000, more people are attracted who could not get that salary level elsewhere.

    Proportional representation, fixed terms, ability to allocate preferences in Senate voting as CB suggested above, limitation of office to, say, three terms – there are many improvements that could be considered to drag us out of the self-serving dog fight that politics in this country has become.

  10. mars08

    So… no great love of 21st Century Labor policy here….

  11. stephentardrew

    And here we go again as our US “partners” head down the path to self-destruction. And what do the political parties in Australia have to say about this farce. No need to put your fingers in your ears because there will be silence.

    We need to gently back out of the US alliance because they are intent upon completely destroying democracy.

    Labor pulled us through the GFC and if we don’t act soon it may well be too late.

    The two party system may not be the greatest however we might have to seriously think about voting for the better of two evils for there is an evil on the move that is all consuming greed and if we are not prepared we too will go down in a heap.

    I think a multi-party systems with independents is preferable because diversity is the seed of alternative ideas however we must sometimes be pragmatic and the way things are going conservatives are far past their use by date including the Labor neo-con right.

    If you are not shocked by this news then you should be because it is our future these bastards are playing with.


  12. Annie B

    An excellent article Victoria – thank you. …. it speaks volumes.

    @ Corvus B ….. ( your comment – December 13, 2014 at 9:56 am )

    ……………… ” The simple amendment of a choice to allot my choice of
    candidates to a reasonable minimum number(10?), without having to
    get down to choosing between Wiki-leaks and Sex, would certainly help
    this voter make clear his informed intentions. ” …….

    I am not sure which State you live in, but in the recent Victorian election – the H of R mammoth paper – where a voter could choose the easy way by putting ‘1’ at the top of a list of party candidates – or laboriously go thru marking everything off individually ( which would surely lead to much confusion in the counting ranks )…….. I asked, and was told – that a minimum of 5 candidates could be marked on the ballot paper, but ( he warned ) with absolutely NO number put in the top section. A minimum of FIVE . I actually marked 14 on that paper, out of the dozens presented. I did that because I could, and because I chose to do so.

    So – if you are, as I suspect, referring to the H of R long and tedious ballot paper …… then your idea is spot-on …. but could be reduced even further than 10.

    Just sayin ‘

  13. stephentardrew

    Just be cognizant of the fact that the convergence of Democrats and Republicans towards the right is signing the death knell of democracy.

    Labor you just better get off of your buts because I am voting Green. You are becoming part of the problem. We urgently need serious economic reform free from the overbearing influence of the US.

    No more week kneed Shorten inaction this is an urgent call to arms.

    We must plan and plan now for the next GFC because as sure as day turns to night if these reforms are not reinstated all hell will break loose.

    Two party, three party, independents it matters little if the core precepts of democracy are so compromised that workers and the poor fall into gross inequality and pervasive poverty.

  14. Kaye Lee


    CB was talking about the Senate not the HoR, and for your vote to count you can vote for a political party or group by putting the number ‘1’ in one box only above the black line. The rest of the ballot paper must be left blank. Or if a voter chooses to vote below the line, they must number every box below the line for their vote to count.

    You are talking about the Legislative Council. The Legislative Council system doesn’t make life nearly so hard for below-the-line voters, who need number only five boxes, not all of them, as they do for the Senate.

  15. Annie B

    @Ricardo29 ………

    Great comment. Much to think about.

    I think voters, being totally disenchanted with both Parties in the past couple of years – ( or longer ) have decided that voting for someone – anyone – other than the 2PP mobs, is some way of rebelling against what has become a kindergarten food fight in Question Time in Parliament – with nothing much ever achieved, except perhaps the occasional one-up-man-ship. …….. and ( barring Julia Gillard’s extraordinary achievement of legislation passed ) …… the chopping and changing in the Labor Party – and the obvious aggression shown by the then opposition. A dilemma – a rock and a hard place. Do we want him – or him —- nah, neither.

    They became sick and tired of MSM’s relentless barrage of print that ( as Victoria said ) …. goes for and against in their articles. They fence sit, or perhaps put forward one blast at a party – but have to have something to compare it with – so have a go at the other party.
    Or they praise both. Confusing to the casual reader / listener.

    First past the post ? ……. Interesting, and while I hope it could work, I don’t think it would.

  16. Jexpat

    What an impressive array of bogus and hackneyed frames you toss out, Ms. Rollison.

    Let’s see: “economic rationalism” (AKA neoliberalism -many dysfunctional elements of which that’s been wholly embraced state and federal Labor). “Protectionist communist democracy?” Oh come on now.

    You also claim to be “passionate” about policy. Well, the ETS was not- as has been shown by subsequent experience abroad, “good policy,” whereas the carbon pricing system has: take a look at British Columbia’s carbon pricing system, which has not only substantially reduced emissions, but also boosted their economy- at the same time. Indeed, it’s been such a success that all three US Pacific States in cooperation, Oregon, California and Washington have just agreed to emulate it.

    No, what this piece smacks of is an effort to portray 21st Century Labor in a light that no longer reflects the present reality- much as some members of the US Democrats, UK Labour and the Canadian Liberals (the corporate centrist- former centre left party). Each of these parties has declined, even in the face of bizarre right wing extremism.

    Why? Because they’re widely perceived as having abandoned their traditional values. They’re perceived as wanting to have it both ways, and thus: standing for nothing.

    And that’s how they’ll continue to be perceived so long as ideologues in their right wing factions call the shots.

  17. Annie B

    This is still hope out there, that we do not become a degraded society because of Abbott, his utterly distasteful ( one vile ) ministers, and his ‘whip’ … Peta Credlin.

    The ABC 7.30 report last night ( Friday 12th ) opened with a heavy handed swipe at the Government – mainly from the comments sought and given by scientists and Nobel Laureate Professor Peter Doherty ……… about the ‘dumbing down’ of Australia, because of cuts to the CSIRO which has served Australia – and the world, gloriously over many decades. It was well worth watching and the guest speakers left no stone unturned.

    And a concerted blast from a former Prime Minister – Malcolm Fraser, which left nothing to the imagination – against that alleged Minister for Immigration – is very much a good read. Not on topic admittedly – but will post again on the appropriate article.

    Would lift a few spirits here, methinks :


  18. stephentardrew

    Democrats Bow Down to Wall Street. Bill Moyers.

    See how much applies to the Australian political scene.

    Unless there is clear challenge to neo-conservatism by Labor we cannot trust them. I am a progressive not a Labor Lackey.

    Moyers & Company

    National politics cannot stand alone. We have to understand what is going on internationally.

  19. corvus boreus

    The House of Representatives,(H of R) is the federal lower house, the easier of the two ballot papers (usually numbered with about 1-5 options in my electorate). From this sheet comes your federal local member.
    The Victorian state equivalent to this is the Legislative Assembly(same name in my state).
    The broadsheet( numbered about 1-637) ballot paper I referred to, with Wiki-sex-pirate-hoon-tinfoil parties, was for the Federal Senate. This ballot does not currently have the option of partial preferencing in federal elections. From this sheet comes the senators representing your state in federal parliament.
    The Victorian state equivalent of this is the Legislative Council(same name in my state). In my states’ voting system, the option here is all or one(a field of around 100 candidates), as with the federal upper house. If, in Victoria, you have the option to fill this ballot out from 1-5(or such) and beyond, but not have to fill out every single bloody square, then you have what I want for our federal voting.

  20. corvus boreus

    Oh, KL already covered it. Nebermind.

  21. Kyran

    As always, thought provoking. I have read one of Dunlop’s articles and didn’t find it impressive. I think he was trying to find a point, but never quite got there. In my lifetime, I can honestly say I have never seen a more incompetent government than this one. I don’t think this is a sudden happenstance. The main point of the two party system was that you knew what you’re getting by voting for “your party”. They had “core principles”. That went by the by decades ago, when both party’s started morphing their “core principles” to respond to the latest poll to their best advantage. Then we got wedging, weasel words and a plethora of spin doctors to “massage” the truth.
    My disillusionment is that we, the voters, accept (with apparent glee) that we can vote at the end of a term to tell them what we really think. Mr Boreus suggested he would support a Labor Party that will support a Federal ICAC. I would much rather we, the people, draft a charter for parliamentarians. The rest will follow. And if the “two parties” can’t adhere to the charter, so be it. At least we’ll know where they stand.
    My first suggestion would be they cannot legislate anything (including their remuneration, rights to privacy, human rights) that they won’t ensure the rest of us are entitled to.
    Two parties? Who cares. It’s about the voters, not the parties. Take care

  22. silkworm

    I am sick of Labor apologists bagging the Greens for failing to pass Rudd’s ETS, as if that makes Labor somehow superior to the Greens on the issue of climate change. These apologists conveniently forget the fact that Rudd refused to talk to Bob Brown at all about the issue, and that Rudd favoured the ludicrous idea of a Clean Coal Institute.

  23. Annie B

    @Corvus Boreus ……….

    Thanks for the correction … on ballot papers.

    As some nice poster on this forum, once observed …. “Annie B does get confused” …….. and in this particular case, I had them ass about.

    But I did know to what I was referring. Just made an error in which paper was which ( for the moment ).

    The Legislative Council in Victoria, is the upper house of a ‘two house’ ( bicameral ? ) legislature and has the wide spread white ballot paper – similar to that presented at Federal elections for the Senate. It is on this large ballot paper, that here in Victoria, only 5 names have to be numbered … on the ballot paper itself. As I said – I chose to mark 14 of them. ……….. ( Yep – repeating myself – but with corrections 😉 )

    Your comment :

    ……… ” This ballot does not currently have the option of partial preferencing in federal elections ” …… and it is what you said you would like to see happen at Federal level.

    Why CAN’T this be done at Federal level ?

  24. corvus boreus

    Annie B,
    I can’t see any reason, except a reluctance to change the existing system based upon benefits the entrenched major parties get from things like shell-party preferences, and block deals with minor parties and independents.
    It is a bit like why they (mostly) consistently say “NO” to proposals like general political corruption investigations and substance testing before parliamentary votes; it is often not in their self-interests to see things done righteously.

  25. AndrewL

    I am glad to see your article was counter-pointed so eloquently by Kaye Lee. I think together they represent a balanced review of the topic of 2-party systems.
    Sadly I have to agree with many of the comments on here regarding Labour. I used to vote for them but so much of their actions in opposition reflect right-wing attitudes even though they still argue the original rhetoric of a fairer Australia. Had the Labour Party blocked more LDP policies over the last 12 months, we could have had a DD and be already recovering from the damage done by the LNP.
    I will vote for Greens because their policies actually make more sense for the future of this country and are beholden to a higher morality.

  26. Annie B

    Thanks Corvus ….

    Agree …….. they wouldn’t want anything to be done righteously. …….

    The Greens might ? …. Can’t quite come to any conclusions about them yet, though. !!

  27. mikestasse

    The problem isn’t really the two party system…… the problem is that the two parties are owned by corporations. When Whitlam led the nation, there was no such thing as corporate donations and lobbyists.

    I haven’t voted for Labor since Whitlam was ousted.

    We need a revolution, that’s all there is to it. Be damned if I’ll vote for corporate power…….

  28. mars08


    …I used to vote for them but so much of their actions in opposition reflect right-wing attitudes…

    And there is in black and white, Victoria! When are you going to get the message?

    There are many of us who WERE Labor voters, but can’t support the party it has become.

    The fact is… WE didn’t turn away from Labor… rather it was Labor which, quite intentionally, abandoned us! If the ALP want’s to regain our votes, I’m sure they know what they have to do!

  29. Lee

    I used to be a Labor voter too until they drifted to the right. These days I vote for The Greens as we are agreed on all of my major issues. Although I don’t agree with their stance on drug detection dogs in NSW and told them recently that they are barking up the wrong tree (pun intended). They are coming from a position of ignorance there.

  30. eli nes

    stunning victoria absolutely stunning. Sadly, I have long left the drummers on the ABC and struggle with breakfast/24 farce and their use of might may could sales, uhlmann and jones. gillard was terrific with oakeschott and windsor but pathetic in front of abbott’s trash.
    The success of the coalition in 2013 saw the destruction of our multi-party version of the two party system.
    Pension seekers like xenophon’s appeal to the wowsers and the men and women frightened of unions, make the above the line voting the vehicle for the destruction of our political system..I have a long held view that it is against the spirit and maybe the letter of electoral law by abrogating the individual’s obligation to show preference. I wrote asking why voters could not distribute 1 or more preferences below the line then put a 3 or what ever the next in sequence was above the line and let the computer work it out.
    This would have allowed labor voters to bypass bullock or allowed a vote for both lib and lab senators or any personally weird combinations rather than party weird results.

  31. John Fraser


    "The most uninformed voters I know choose the most random of independents and minor parties because it’s trendy."

    I think that the majority of those "voters" just don't give a shit and their numbers are representative in the miniscule votes that dickheads like Day get elected by.

    "Trendy" on a Ballot paper is likely to be the last thing they would think of.

  32. Kaye Lee

    Senator Day – founder of South Australia-based Homestead Homes and Home Australia, which owns large building companies in Western Australia, Queensland, Victoria and New South Wales – met Treasurer Joe Hockey on Wednesday to put his concerns about a generation of young people hit by harsh unemployment policies and priced out of the housing market.

    The former president of the Housing Industry Association said his family trust is in the process of disposing of his shareholdings in the businesses – reported to be worth $80 million – as he steps up his lobbying to weaken the political influence of high-density property developers and land developers. “This [his political career] is more important now,” Senator Day said.

    Now that he has made his fortune and bought his way into Parliament, Bob Day wants to buy a conscience.

  33. mikestasse

    I’m really surprised that my comment about the parties being ‘owned’ by corporations is still the only one, and that no one’s bothered to even comment on the issue.

    We are screwing the planet through subsidising fodsil fuels and mining concerns who donate millions to both parties in exchange for preferential treatment, and nobody cares? And some people wonder why people vote for the Greens and independents…

  34. corvus boreus

    A Citizens Charter for Parliamentarians and a federal ICAC are not mutually excluding propositions.

    I can see merit in a definitive code of behavior(particularly if binding) and like the idea of it being directly representative of the citizens.
    However, if such a charter has been drafted it has not been tabled, there is no current proposal to make such a document legally enforcable, nor has there been any loud public or parliamentary call for such a charter. The idea is embryonic at best.
    Meanwhile, political corruption continues to occur in a manner that harms our society and economy, which needs to be promptly addressed in a way that is legally enforcable with punitive powers. The only avenue for this is an independent commission against corruption.

    A Parliamentary Charter is a desirable goal, important even, but a federal ICAC is an absolute priority of necessity.

    I think your remark about politicians operating on behalf of and at the behest of corporations passed without comment because it was an unremarkedly obvious comment.
    Companies buy politician, plants photosynthesize, this is why I oppose logging and favor a federal ICAC and reforms.

  35. townsvilleblog

    I feel that most of the criticism could be quashed if the Labor Party returned to being a labour party instead of just Another Liberal Party full of right wing politicians via the AWU/SDA gerrymander within the ALP. When 58.6% of 30,000 members have their vote overturned by 100 elected politicians there is always going to be some disenchantment.

  36. mikestasse

    CB, might be obvious to you, so why do so many still vote for corporations? The two parties need a lesson. STOP VOTING FOR THEM…. could anyone else REALLY screw things up worse than what the Laborals are doing now?

  37. corvus boreus

    Why do so many people support a continuance of the deforestation, degradation and pollution that are obviously diminishing the capacity of the biosphere to sustain us?
    Why is there unquestioning acceptance of an obviously unsustainable economic system promoting an infinitely exponential increase in consumption within a finite resource base, where a pointless and parasitic levy, the societal debt of interest, is charged upon the underpinning financial reserves created before they even exist as legal currency.
    I don’t really have any non-prejudicial answers to these questions on a Suns-day morning beyond some round condemnations of the general levels of human perspicacity and comprehension.

  38. Lee

    “CB, might be obvious to you, so why do so many still vote for corporations? ”

    Mikestasse, you probably need to direct that question to Victoria. Why do some people continue to vote for the same party regardless of what they do?

  39. mars08


    Ka-pow!!! hehehehehe…. oh, that WAS wicked…. hehehehehe

  40. Kyran

    I live in hope Mr Boreus. I agree they are not mutually exclusive propositions. The ICAC is (or should be) a basic requirement in any democracy. The problem is that the rules of entitlement for our “leaders” are so vague that our “leaders” are allowed to try one on and, if they get caught, it becomes a case of “Oops, I’ll give that one back”. Obviously a few notable exceptions in recent history. ICAC’s exist to prosecute crime and corruption – after the fact. Whilst the notion, as you rightly point out, is embryonic, it would enable clear precepts for the behaviour rightly demanded by the constituents of their “leaders”.
    Thank you for your insights. Take care

  41. corvus boreus

    Good thoughts.
    Thanks and ditto.

  42. Alphonse

    “The Liberal Party is the party of economic rationalists.”
    No, it is pro-austerity and pro-inequality – neither of which is economically rational.

  43. Annie B

    @ Kaye Lee ……

    Your correction of my ‘ senior moment ‘ ??? ( .December 13, 2014 at 1:59 pm..) …. which was also corrected by Corvus B …….. did not show up until today. ??

    Yet it was posted yesterday – apparently ….. so for that I thank you also. ……. Not sure how that happened ? …. Put it down to the vagaries of the internet and ALL sites !!! 🙂


    @ Corvus B …. re : your comment –

    ……… ” Why do so many people support a continuance of the deforestation,
    degradation and pollution that are obviously diminishing the capacity of the
    biosphere to sustain us? ” ……….

    The Tasmanian Wilderness which was going to be raped by Abbott and his ministry – his ‘plans’ were rejected by ALL – including by the World Heritage Foundation AND the logging companies themselves, along with the Tasmanian Government and all other interested parties.

    Well – that’s a start – – – – here anyway.

    What the hell happens in South America, and other parts of the world, intent on deforestation of just about everything – we have no say in …… ( but I wish we did ).

    I truly do not think WE ….. Australian people, on a large scale, want our country ravaged by this rabid Government – any more than it’s being ravaged by the lack of rain at this time. Farmers are suffering badly – thus we suffer.

    I seriously think that most Aussies love ‘our sunburnt country, our land of sweeping plains’ ….. etc. a la Dorothy McKellar. And do not wish it to go the way many areas on earth have gone.

    Just sayin’.

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